They tell us the Brewers have been doing all of the little things right while winning 19 of their last 21 games. Today, they did a little thing wrong and it could have had big consequences.
With men on first and third in the bottom of the third inning of the game against the Dodgers, Jerry Hairston Jr. was given the sign to try a suicide squeeze and Josh Wilson took off for home plate with the pitch.
Hairston, though, missed the sign and instead hit a hard-grounder to third baseman Aaron Miles, which turned into a 5-4-3 double play, ending the inning for Clayton Kershaw.
Fortunately, Hairston’s grounder passed harmlessly about 10 feet wide of Wilson. If could have done some real damage if it had been right at him or, potentially much worse, if it was instead a line drive.
Hairston, who was just acquired at the end of last month and who apparently still lacks familiarity with the Brewers’ signs, was caught completely off-guard afterwards and had no idea the squeeze was on. He got a talking to in the dugout afterwards, so he’ll likely pick up on it next time.
Welp, that didn’t last long. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is going back on the injured list with more knee issues. If it matters the Sox say it’s not a big deal and they expect him back sooner rather than later, but they also said that his post-2017 knee surgery was just a “cleanup” at first and that basically cost him a year. So.
Pedroia has played in six games and is 2-for-20 with a walk.
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that Pedroia’s career may be nearing an end. Sure, he’s under contract for two more years after this season, but he’s also in a unfortunate spiral that so many players experience in their mid-to-late 30s.
Running a website like this makes it all the clearer, actually. When you search a player’s name in our CMS, you get every post in which he appears in reverse chronological order. Just about every long-tenured player ends with about six posts in which he is alternately placed on and activated from the disabled/injured list. Then an offseason link to a big feature in which he’s written about as being “at a crossroads” followed by something vague about “resuming baseball activities” and then, inevitably, the retirement announcement. I can’t count the number of guys whose careers I can tick off in that way by browsing the guts of this site.
I hope that’s not the case for Pedroia. I hope that there’s a “Pedroia wins Comeback Player of the Year” post in the future. Or at the very least a silly “Miller’s Crossing” reference in an “And that Happened” in which I say “the old man’s still an artist with the Thompson” after he peppers the ball around in some 3-for-4, two-double game. I want that stuff to happen.
It’s just that, if you watch this game long enough, you realize how unlikely that is once a player starts to break down.